During college I had a New Testament prof that was famous for repeating the same teaching all the time. It must have worked because I still remember it and want to share it with you now.
He said that throughout the Bible and in our lives we always get into trouble with God when He reaches out His hand and we look to see what is in the hand rather than reach for the hand itself.
In the end we really do not need what is in God’s Hand, we just need His hand.
This teaching has guided my prayer life for years. Not to say I always get it right, but I work to strive for God more than the blessings.
As I get into Transformational Giving and teach in various settings throughout the world, I have learned that praying and giving have potential to have the same pitfalls if we stray from a God-centered focus.
If as ministries in need of money, we only look at giving as a resource for just getting funded, then we miss the point of giving. Giving is a spiritual discipline for every believer. So if we miss the chance to see giving as disciple making and just a means to our end, we have reduced the believer to an ATM.
Just as in prayer, if we reduce prayer to just getting what we want, then we miss the needed relationship that makes us disciples. Doing this runs the risk of trying to make God a Genie in a bottle. We must not treat God or His followers as means to an end by always looking to see what is in the Hand instead of just grabbing the hand.
Prayer and fund raising both involve asking. But if this is the root and the only purpose for either, then neither we nor His church will grow. Prayer is about more than what we want or need, so too is giving and receiving.